• It's almost Super Bowl Sunday and the Chicago Bears haven't mussed their jerseys in a championship game for more than two decades. Accordingly, Windy City NFL fans are hunting for any excuse imaginable to kick off their revelry a little early. Earlier this week, four sportswriters at the Chicago Sun-Times staged a blind taste-off to gauge how a bottle of former Bears coach Mike Ditka's Kick Ass Red wine stands up against the competition. Ditka's red--a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah served at his restaurant, Mike Ditka's Chicago--proved evenly matched with its competitor, a bottle of 1998 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, rated 87 points by Wine Spectator. "It's round, it's well-balanced in fruit tannins and body," said one pro-Ditka taster. Another, however, found the red to be less inspiring than the football legend's heavy-handed coaching methods. "It's not that it's a bad wine, it's just a little pricey for what it is," said tasting overseer Janet Rausa Fuller. "We let the bottles aerate for half an hour, and even the Cab's bouquet implied there was more to it than the Ditka wine." The tasting panel's final score: 2-2. If nothing else, at least the Sun-Times was fair ... and didn't taste Ditka's wine against one from the Colts' home of Indiana.
• We here at Unfiltered generally like to think of wine as something that helps us to slow down and appreciate life. Dating service Fastlife, however, takes a bit of a different approach: Speed dating with wine. On Feb. 13, the Australia-based Fastlife will team up with online matchmaking service lavalife.com and Vintage New York--a Soho-based wine shop that deals exclusively in New York State wines--for the New York City premiere of their speed-dating events geared for wine lovers. Ten men and 10 women will circulate on eight-minute mini-dates with each segment paired with a glass of New York wine or an "aphrodisiac hors d'oeuvre." Fastlife's Liv Judd claims that more matches have been made at their wine-related events than at, for example, their Broadway musical lover's speed-dating nights. We're betting that has to do with the eight "tasting-sized pours" of wine served to the speed-daters. But good news for those who end up loving the wine a little more than their dates: At the end of the night, Vintage New York will offer a special discount on bottle purchases. You may need another glass or two after this.
|At least Colgin's melchiors will someday go to a good cause.|
• Flush with even more Michelin-star success, Gordon Ramsay may be taking on his greatest challenge yet. The foul-mouthed, Scottish celebrity chef just picked up two more stars in the new UK Michelin guide, released on Jan. 26, bringing his star total to 10. Never satisfied, though, Ramsay is now set to start shooting his Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares TV show in the United States next month. Unlike the culinary boot camp of Hell's Kitchen, this show has seen Ramsay turn around failing UK restaurants, using a heavy pinch of F-words and a large dollop of butt-kickin'. The show's producer, Fox, has been tight-lipped about where in the U.S. Ramsay will be starting off, but Unfiltered couldn't help but notice an ad on the New Orleans Craig's List website. The ad, which isn't confirmed, offers failing restaurants the most mouthwatering of dishes: "GORDON RAMSAY-Acclaimed Chef, Culinary Expert & Award Winning Restaurateur IS LOOKING TO HELP RESUSCITATE & FIX YOUR RESTAURANT ISSUES!" the ad declares. With all that capitalized shout-typing, Unfiltered is beginning to think the big man may have written the ad himself.
|The wine dispenser may be too complicated for the models to figure out, now that we think about it.|
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